The original Indianapolis Union Station opened on September 20, 1853, and became the first ‘union station’ in the world. Construction on the larger Romanesque station at the same site began in November 1886 and the station opened in September 1888. Pittsburgh architect Thomas Rodd designed the structure. The clock tower soars up 185 feet. The front of the building sports a huge rose window. Turrets project out of each corner. Today only the head house and the clock tower remain from the 1888 station.
In its heyday, the Indianapolis Union Station was second only to Chicago’s as the busiest rail terminal in the country. By 1900, the station handled two hundred trains per day forcing construction of raised platforms to move the rail lines above and away from the vehicular traffic. The platform that exists today went into service in 1922. After World War II, expanded vehicular transportation coincided with the decline of rail service. By 1965, passenger service through Indianapolis reduced to just a trickle. The station still services the city’s two Amtrak rail routes, but most of the station’s floor space now belongs to Crowne Plaza Hotel.
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The National Register of Historic Places listed the Indianapolis Union Station on July 14, 1982.